Despite Security Vulnerability, Businesses Still Prefer Office 2007

A new research study has found that over two thirds of companies are still opting to run Office 2007, which is software that Microsoft no longer supports.

Spiceworks, an IT network that focuses on industry professionals, has found within its latest research that the majority of businesses are running Office XP, Office 2003, and Office 2007, while Microsoft pushes Office 365--a batch of subscriptions allowing access to several software including newer versions of Microsoft Office, etc.

The research, which included 1,168 IT professionals based in America, Canada, and the UK who "influence the technology purchase decisions at their organization," found that companies will sacrifice security in exchange for reducing expenditure.

Peter Tsai, a senior technology analyst at Spiceworks, commented on the research: "Although they're aware of the security risks of running end-of-life software, many IT departments have not had the budget, time, or resources required to implement new productivity suites and train end users accordingly."

The hugely popular Office 2007 is being used by 68% of businesses quizzed by Spiceworks. Microsoft recently ceased official support for Office 2007. Meanwhile, 46% were running Office 2003, 21% opt to use Office 2000, and 15% still run the 2002 version of its, predecessor Office XP.

Microsoft isn't helping its case, though, in compelling users to upgrade. The software giant's reputation took a hit when it previously rolled out an update that would automatically upgrade Windows 7 and Windows 8 users without their consent.

Either way, according to Tsai, organizations should bear in mind that their budget-saving methods can expose them to much larger financial damage:

"Although they might not grab as many headlines as end-of-support OSes, Office suites that are past their prime are susceptible to danger, similar to their OS cousins. Just like any software or system in use, productivity suites need to be patched for security reasons. Once an OS no longer receives updates, it's a security liability. Over the years, there have been hundreds of vulnerabilities identified in Microsoft Office.”

Vulnerability in the aforementioned softwares can inflict significant financial blows to companies. For example, NotPetya, a ransomware malware, was behind mass service outages during May and June. Shipping firm Maersk declared that the malware may end up costing it $300 million.

The IT company noted that it's not a completely dire outlook for Microsoft. According to its survey, 17% of businesses are hoping to move to Microsoft's cloud-based Office 365 suite by 2019. The online productivity suite is a more compelling option for businesses thanks to its always up-to-date nature. Elsewhere, the research points out that 17% of businesses are currently using Google’s G Suite instead of Microsoft’s alternatives.

  • dennphill
    I'm no business, but I am using the last MS Office iteration that was available as standalone (CD based) - Office 2013. (Actually MS Office Professional 2013.) Works for me. Why would I want to upgrade to a annual payment for Office, Excel, Outlook, etc.? MS is not a very smart organization in my estimation.
  • derekullo
    No mention of Office 2010 ...

    My office had this before I joined and we still use it lol.
  • gangrel
    One issue with these numbers...of the systems with some version of Office installed, how many of them are running what version? A business has 100 computers. 95 run Office 365; 5 run 2007. Still be reported as a business with 2007.

    Second point that would be interesting to investigate: how much of this is an unwillingness to retrain people, because MS tends to make so many changes for no great reason. Never ignore retraining costs. I know I always hated shifting from one version of Office to the next; finding anything was a brand new level of irritation.
  • mavikt
    And if you don't need to run M$ products there is still Apache OpenOffice
  • Takasis007
    In our office, many of our spreadsheets have VBA and AUTOIT macros built in. The new Office 2013 does not seem to play nice with many of them. They have to be torn apart and updated. It is time consuming. Time is money. Also most end users do not have access to many of the tweaking tools. IE. turning off this ridiculous swooshing effect when you change cells. It causes a delay and if you are coding based on timings it is a pain. Nor can they alter the eye bleeding whiteness. Each terminal is locked down pretty tight as to what each agent is able to do (600+ terminals). I can't describe the amount of swearing that goes on at the office due to going through a couple thousand records and it fails because a swoosh took an additional 10th of a second.
  • BFG-9000
    Office 2003 was the last that came on CD, while 2007 and later actually came on DVDs. While not common, 2016 is available on DVDs and presumably the next version 2019 will be as well because not everyone has broadband. You are not even able to customize the installation of 2016 though (well, without editing a file on the DVD itself), so setup full-installs all applications on the DVD.

    Removing the ability to customize has been a common theme with Office--2003 was the last that had fully customizable menus and I am still most productive with it. I thought 2007's ribbons were terrible at the time but it probably wouldn't have been a problem if we had today's high resolution monitors back then. The strange thing is 2010-2013-2016 are all much like 2007 with more text labels in the ribbon, so there is next to no learning curve updating from 2007, and thus no pressing need for extensive retraining unless one of the 46% still on 2003.

    So it's mostly cost--it does what they want and newer offers no compelling new features. Office is like those Madden games where the only thing they update are the rosters--with Office, the main thing that seems to change is the GUI theme to match the latest OS. And of course defaulting to cloud everything now is truly annoying. So businesses won't upgrade until costs from security issues start to outweigh the cost of upgrading.
  • HDB
    As a consumer: Why pay? I run Apache office.

    As a company: Why upgrade if everything goes to ****.

    Be patient, Microsoft, eventually our backs are against the wall.
  • elho_cid
    I guess I'm fortunate to work in company that still uses Office 2013.
  • berezini
    I still use old office software due to its simplicity and ease of use, i tried the new versions of office and it took me 20 minutes to find the way to center text top to bottom on a page.. its stupid how the reduced productivity to new lows with new software versions. its ugly, much more cluttered and the software stinks with security holes in the first place to exploit as if the software was specifically written to be used as blackmail in order to get businesses and users alike to upgrade to the new version.
  • BFG-9000
    Bill Gates' XP and Office 2003 was probably peak Microsoft when it came to usability. The Ballmer era was marked by the bloated Vista and Office 2007 introducing needless UI styling changes just to be new. And in the Nadella era Microsoft decided to outdo Google spying, which must be working because Microsoft stock hit an all-time high during his reign.